Military History Matters 130

Cover Story

Why the Armada failed It was one of the greatest disasters in Spain’s history, yet it came within hours of success. Here, Geoffrey Parker, co-author of a major new history, draws on unseen archives and vital new evidence from Armada shipwrecks to explain what…

Features

Hell and high water: submarine culture In an extract from a new book, John Medhurst traces the history of the submarine in warfare, from the earliest experiments to the First World War.
‘The end of the beginning’: Montgomery & El Alamein Graham Goodlad assesses the career of Britain’s best-known and most controversial general of the Second World War.
El Alamein: turning point in the desert Graham Goodlad analyses Montgomery’s epic clash with Rommel’s forces, which signalled the end for Nazi Germany’s ambitions in the Middle East.
Cuban Missile Crisis: how one man saved the world from nuclear war John Lock resumes his occasional series on the ‘Butterfly Effect’ by examining another event that might have had unforeseen consequences. This time, he turns his attention to the Cuban Missile…
The end of everything: the Battle of Mohács, 29 August 1526 Hungary’s devastating defeat by the armies of Suleiman the Magnificent signalled the country’s demise as a unified independent kingdom. Andrew Southam describes the action.

News

Rare bones of men and horses found at Waterloo The latest discoveries – including parts of at least three horses, one of which looks nearly complete, and the skull and arm of a soldier – are incredibly rare finds.
New evidence sheds fresh light on Culloden battlefield landscape ‘This clear evidence for the survival of Culloden Parks shows us that the story of the Battle of Culloden is still unfolding'
New German-language adaptation of classic war novel coming to Netflix Production of All Quiet on the Western Front took place in the spring of 2021, with filming in Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
Abandoned WWI fortress in Humber Estuary sold at auction After the war, the fort briefly served as a peacetime garrison until the mid-1950s.

Views

MHM 130 Competition: win a copy of a classic 1950s film! Competitions Put your military history knowledge to the test with our competition.
MHM 130 Crossword Competitions Royal Navy light aircraft carrier launched in 1941?
The First World War in Postcards The Picture Desk Calum Henderson explores fascinating examples of postcards from the First World War which feature in John Wilton's latest book.
Military History Matters Letters – September 2022 Letters As both of my grandfathers perished onboard Invincible at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, I read your discussion of Admiral David Beatty (‘The worst commanders in history?’ MHM…
Military history events and exhibitions Autumn 2022 – Winter 2023 Museum, What's on A round-up of some of the best military history events, lectures, and exhibitions.
German Second World War Destroyers Ideas DAVID PORTER ON MILITARY HISTORY’S DOOMED INVENTIONS.
War Classic: The Campaigns of Napoleon Books, Comment Chandler sees Napoleon as a gifted improviser whose operations were nonetheless underpinned by certain consistent principles. Amongst his key skills as a commander were a personal charisma that inspired and…
War of words – ‘Privateer’ Ideas As far back as the Middle Ages, private ship captains were authorised by governments to harry enemy merchant shipping. Their ships, and their operators, came to be called ‘privateers’. The…

Reviews

The Lighthouse of Stalingrad: the hidden truth at the centre of WWII’s greatest battle A besieged city, a hostile army enveloping on all sides, and a ruthless commander refusing to surrender – this was not 1942, but 1919, when the city in southern Russia…
David Stirling: the Phoney Major the life, times and truth about the founder of the SAS REVIEW BY SIMON BAKER Anyone with more than a passing interest in the history of the SAS may well be familiar with the regiment’s genesis myth: in 1941, a tall…
Military history events and exhibitions Autumn 2022 – Winter 2023 A round-up of some of the best military history events, lectures, and exhibitions.
War on Film – Eric Ravilious: Drawn to War Taylor Downing reviews a new documentary.
The Story of Russia REVIEW BY ANDRÉ VAN LOON. The Story of Russia is a thorough work of historical writing that unfortunately leaves aside its most interesting ideas after the book’s introduction. Figes starts…
Museum review: Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum Reviewing the best military history exhibitions with Christopher Warner.
War Classic: The Campaigns of Napoleon Chandler sees Napoleon as a gifted improviser whose operations were nonetheless underpinned by certain consistent principles. Amongst his key skills as a commander were a personal charisma that inspired and…
Convoys: the British struggle against Napoleonic Europe and America REVIEW BY PATRICK BONIFACE. Military success throughout time has been dependent on the orderly and safe supply of goods, food, fuel, ammunition, and personnel. Ancient mariners devised the convoy system…
Nagasaki: the forgotten prisoners REVIEW BY TOBY CLARK. Sailing into Hong Kong in late August 1945, the Royal Navy battleship HMS Anson symbolised the Japanese defeat. Within a week of her arrival, the Anson…
New German-language adaptation of classic war novel coming to Netflix Production of All Quiet on the Western Front took place in the spring of 2021, with filming in Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

From the editor

Many of us like to think we are familiar with the story of the Spanish Armada: how a vast force sent by Philip II to conquer these isles was scattered to the four winds after the English fleet, inspired by the genius of Queen Elizabeth I, won a decisive victory in the Channel. As we learn in this issue of MHM, however, it turns out that most of us have only a partial understanding of this central event in English and Spanish history.

In our cover story, Geoffrey Parker, co-author of a new book about the Armada, explains that we have long known a great deal about how England avoided invasion, thanks to the publication of the major Elizabethan documents. But it is only now – with the disclosure of new evidence from Armada shipwrecks, and from archives in Spain, Belgium, and Italy – that it has become possible to tell the full story.

Also in this issue, we mark the 80th anniversary of El Alamein, one of the pivotal battles of the Second World War. In our two-part special, Graham Goodlad assesses the career of Bernard Montgomery and analyses how the controversial general led the Eighth Army to victory.

Elsewhere, you’ll find two features on submarine warfare. In the first, John Lock recalls the underwater drama of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the second, John Medhurst looks further back in time to explain how these strange new vessels were able eventually to revolutionise conflict.

And finally, Andrew Southam tells the grim story of the Battle of Mohács, the devastating 1526 defeat of Hungary by the armies of Suleiman the Magnificent, which signalled the country’s demise as a unified independent kingdom.